Payments technology company, Visa, has set up a dedicated office in Ghana in a bid to build stronger relationships with its partners in the country.
Country Manager for Visa Ghana, Adoma Peprah, said although the payments solution provider has been operating in Ghana for over ten years, it has done so from its Nigeria office.
She explained that the growing sophistication of Ghana’s financial market underscores the need to have a dedicated establishment in the country.
“The Ghanaian economy is growing; payments are continuously becoming sophisticated and you need a dedicated focus here in Ghana to build these relationships so we decided to set up an office. Sub Saharan Africa is very, very key for us…on the continent there is a lot of cash and we find that we need to digitise the cash. Ghana is a huge market for us.
“Our focus here is for us to say ‘how can we work with the government and the industry to help the Bank of Ghana’s financial inclusion drive?’” she said recently at a short media engagement.
Visa’s dedicated focus on Ghana comes at a time when the central bank is also firming up efforts to advance government’s financial inclusion drive.
The Payment Systems and Settlement bill – which is being championed by the Bank of Ghana – has just been passed by Parliament.
It is expected to stir up innovation in the financial space and to facilitate the process of moving closer to the use of digital platforms for transactions.
The new bill, awaiting presidential assent, is also expected to make it easy for non-bank entities and fintech companies to have direct access to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) for licensing – removing the existing framework that demands that these companies go through the big banks.
Head of Payment Systems at the Bank of Ghana, Dr Settor Amediku, has said the country was going to have a competitive payment ecosystem that would make banks innovate or risk losing their clients to the licensed non-bank entities.
Although a 2017 report by the Global Findex Database found that Ghanaian adults with access to financial service account increased from 29% in 2011 to 58%, experts believe there is room for improvement.
The report said seven million Ghanaian adults did not have a bank account, indicating that the country’s formal banking industry is still struggling with the challenge of decreasing the unbanked population.
Adoma Peprah believes digitisation of the financial space is key to improving the banking population through financial inclusion.
The Country Manager for Visa said the unique nature of Ghana’s financial market further justifies Visa decision to set up a dedicated office here.
“One needs to be here to understand the nuances peculiar in the market. Ghana is an environment which is ripe of technologies, there a lot of disruptions,” she said, adding that Visa is determined to develop a robust mechanism to effectively partner different players to promote the financial inclusion agenda.
Visa will deploy three key strategies to deepen its influence in the payments technology sphere in Ghana.
“One of the things we have launched is the Visa on Mobile. It is a secure code-based solution and it is a service that we launched in November last year. It is an easy way for you to pay just by scanning a secure code with your smart phone or using the USSD string if you have a feature phone. Through that you can put money into your account and make direct payments to merchants,” Adoma Preprah said.
She said the service was catching on very well because of the proliferation of mobile phone use.
“Another is that financial literacy is very key here. Lack of financial literacy, I think is a challenge. So a bunch of the banks have approached us to say how can you work with us to make sure that we get people educated about our financial instruments,” she added.
A third approach is to increase engagement with Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and other less formal financial institutions.
“With Visa, we have previously dealt with the big banks and it’s not enough. If you want to get financial inclusion, if you go to the rural villages there are no big banks there MFIs are what they know,” she said.
About the new Visa Ghana Country Manager
Adoma Peprah describes herself as a passionate Afro-optimist with credible experience in doing business in Africa.
She is a financial services professional with a unique understanding of business developed through experience in varied environments – 12 years of which has been focused on the banking and payments industries.
Her new role at Visa means she is deeply involved in providing relevant, well-constructed, scalable technologies that will assist in growing the bottom line business for Visa and its clients in line with global payment strategies.
She said she is relentless in her pursuit and interest in trying to make a meaningful contribution in the growth of financial services solutions on the African continent.
“Coming to Ghana with Visa was important to me because I want to leave a legacy. I don’t just want to do a job. I want to be seen as a part of changing the way things are done in the financial services and business perspective. The government is committed in terms of digitization of cash and I want to be part of shaping that,” she said.